Mushroom and Manchego Paninis

Paninis are just fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. The Mushroom and Manchego Panini is an excellent version of this sandwich. Ample Bites made them using shiitakes and button mushrooms. The sherry vinegar and fresh thyme in the mushroom mixture gives the sandwich nice punch. I had a few mushrooms leftover. They will make an appearance on our pizzas this week.

If you don’t have a panini press you can simply use a heavy skillet and place a dish with a little weight to it on top of the sandwich to press it. You will have to flip the sandwich halfway through cooking.

Mushroom and Manchego Panini
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine, March 2012)

Serves 4

1 tsp unsalted butter
¼ cup minced shallots
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
8 ounces sliced exotic mushrooms (shiitake, cremini and/or oyster)
8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
1 ½ Tbsp sherry vinegar
8 slices of sourdough or multi-grain bread
3 ounces shaved Manchego cheese
Cooking spray
1 garlic clove, halved

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add shallots, thyme, minced garlic and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently. Add vinegar; cook 30 seconds or until liquid almost evaporates.

Divide the mushroom mixture evenly among four bread slices. Top evenly with cheese and remaining bread slices.

Heat a Panini press. Coat the press with cooking spray. One at a time add sandwiches to the press and close, pressing down slightly to flatten. Cook sandwiches 3 minutes or until the cheese melts and bread is toasted.

Rub the top and bottom of each sandwich with cut side of garlic clove and serve immediately.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Prosciutto-Wrapped Salmon with Mushroom-Pea Risotto

Ample Bites enjoys salmon prepared almost any way and any variation on risotto. Prosciutto-Wrapped Salmon with Mushroom-Pea Risotto is luxurious combination of the two elements.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Salmon with Mushroom Risotto and Garden Peas
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 4

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ white onion, finely diced
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup Chardonnay
4 cups hot chicken broth
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 slices prosciutto
4 (7-ounce) wild salmon fillets
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup peas, divided
1 tsp fesh thyme leaves
½ tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp minced shallot
12 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
8 chanterelles, morels or other fresh mushrooms, sliced
12 grape tomatoes

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter, then onion and sweat. Next add rice. Stir rice around with the butter and onions to coat the rice. Deglaze with Chardonnay and stir using a wooden or spatula. Add enough hot broth to cover the rice. Continue to stir, over low to medium heat, until the broth is absorbed. Add broth two more times while continuing to stir. Season with salt and pepper.

While risotto is cooking, lay 2 slices of prosciutto flat, then wrap around each piece of salmon. In a hot skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil. Sear the prosciutto-wrapped fish on all sides. Transfer the fish to the oven and cook for about 5 minutes more, or until the fish is cooked through.

In a blender, add ¾ cup peas with garlic, shallot and ¾ cup broth; puree. Season with salt and pepper. Strain through a mesh strainer.

In a small hot skillet, add a teaspoon of oil. Add the mushrooms, and thyme and sauté. Fold the mushrooms and peas into the risotto and finish the risotto with 3 to 4 tablespoons of butter.

Saute the pureed English peas and baby tomatoes. Ladle peas and tomatoes on plate. Top with mushroom risotto. Place salmon on the risotto and serve immediately.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Brined and Roasted Fresh Turkey

Ample Bites has no new recipe for tonight so I am posting my Brined and Roasted Fresh Turkey recipe for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. And, sorry, no picture, but I am quite sure you have seen a roasted turkey before.

Brined and Roasted Fresh Turkey
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 8 – 10

1 12 – 14 pound fresh turkey

For Brine
2 quarts of cold apple juice
1 cup Kosher salt
2 Tbsp dried sage
2 Tbsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp dried rosemary
2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper

For Roasting
1 ½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp minced fresh sage leaves
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1 medium onion, quartered
1 orange, quartered
1 lemon, quartered

Thaw turkey, if frozen, and remove neck and giblets. Mix brine by pouring salt and spices into the apple juice until salt is completely dissolved. Place turkey in plastic brining bag and pour brine in. Pull the bag tight and tie it closed. Place the turkey in a cooler with a bag or two of ice for 24 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine after 24 hours and rinse it with cold water. Pat the turkey dry, inside and out, and leave uncovered at room temperature for about one hour before seasoning.

Preheat oven to 450F.

Rub the turkey inside and out with black pepper. Place the turkey in a rack in a roasting pan. Mix butter, lemon zest, rosemary, sage and thyme in a small bowl. Rub herb butter over the top of the turkey and inside cavity.

Place onion, orange, and lemon inside turkey cavity. Foil the tips of the wings to keep them from burning. Pour 4 cups water into pan. Roast turkey, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325F. Baste turkey with pan juices; add more water, if needed, to maintain at least ¼-inch of liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan. Continue roasting turkey, basting every 30 minutes and tenting with foil if skin is turning too dark, until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh without touching bone registers 165F (juices should run clear when thermometer is removed), about 2 ¾ hours total.

Transfer turkey to a platter. Tent with foil and let rest for 1 hour before carving.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

A Simple and Quick Asian Dumpling Soup

This soup is a really simple way to make a Quick Asian Dumpling Soup. Most of the ingredients are probably in your refrigerator and pantry. Ample Bites always has a few frozen pot stickers to supplement an order of sushi or to have for dinner, in lieu of pizza, on a bachelor night.

Quick Chinese Dumpling Soup
(Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, Soup Magazine, Fall/Winter 2012)

Serves 8

1 32-ounce carton low-sodium chicken broth
1 32-ounce carton low-sodium mushroom or vegetable broth
2 cup water
4 tsp grated fresh ginger
4 10-ounce packages frozen pot stickers
4 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
3 medium carrots, cut into thin 2-inch strips
2 small bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced diagonally

In a Dutch oven combine broth, water, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Bring to a boil over high heat.

Add pot stickers, carrots and most of the green onions. Return to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes or until pot stickers are heated through.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining green onions.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Roasted Pepper and Onion Salad with Blue Cheese

Roasted Pepper and Onion Salad with Blue Cheese is a nice salad to serve with winter meals, especially as a side for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The juices created during the roasting of the vegetables becomes a warm, unique dressing for the salad. The salad can be served without the blue cheese but Ample Bites recommends including the sharp but velvety texture of the blue cheese because of how it compliments the vegetables and the acidity of the sherry vinegar.

Roasted Pepper and Onion Salad with Blue Cheese
(Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2012)

Serves 4 – 6

2 medium red onions, quartered through stem end
4 roasted red peppers, quartered lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, crushed
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
8 cups (loosely packed) frisee
1/3 cup thinly sliced blue cheese

Preheat oven to 450F. Combine first four ingredients in a shallow 2-quart baking dish; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast vegetables, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and softened, about 40 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more vinegar, if desired.

Arrange frisee on plates, divided evenly. Spoon vegetables over frisee. Drizzle juices in baking dish over top. Top with blue cheese.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tomato-Garlic Soup with Fennel

After all of the rich and heavy food of the Thanksgiving weekend Ample Bites went in search of a light, winter soup and found a version of tomato soup that incorporates lots of garlic and a favorite Ample Bites vegetable, fennel. Try this savory Tomato-Garlic Soup with Fennel along with a toasty grilled cheese sandwich for a hearty lunch or dinner.

Tomato-Garlic Soup with Fennel
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 4

1 medium fennel bulb with tops
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup hot-style tomato juice
1 tsp dried basil, crushed
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Reserve some of the feathery fennel tops to garnish the soup. Remove any tough or bruised outer leaves from the fennel bulb. Trim off and discard the root end and stems. Quarter the bulb lengthwise; remove and discard core. Chop fennel.

In a 4-quart Dutch oven heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add chopped fennel, onion, and garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, about 25 minutes until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Cook, uncovered, over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, until onion is golden, stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes, broth, tomato sauce, vegetable juice and basil. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer covered, for 15 minutes. Blend with an immersion blender to break down some of the larger vegetable pieces.

To serve, ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved fennel tops.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Smoked Salmon and Chive Pizza

Not only is Friday Pizza Night but the Wednesday before Thanksgiving can be, too. Ample Bites made Smoked Salmon and Chive Pizza while preparing for the biggest dining holiday of the year.

Smoked Salmon and Chive Pizza
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 4

1 pizza dough, divided into equal crusts
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups Vidalia onions, thinly sliced
½ cup chives, chopped
½ cup smoked salmon, diced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded

Prepare pasta dough and divide the dough into four equal crusts. Preheat oven to 425F. Preheat pizza stone for about 20 minutes.

Saute onions in one tablespoon of oil until soft, stirring occasionally, until soft and just beginning to color. Set aside to cool.

Spread onions over pizza crust. Sprinkle the cheese, chives and salmon over the onions.

Bake each pizza for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and crust is golden. Before serving, drizzle with oil and cut into wedges.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Healthier Veal Piccata

Ample Bites made this traditional Italian dish using veal but chicken can be substituted. Veal Piccata recipes normally include much more butter and the cutlets are sometimes breaded with flour, egg and breadcrumbs. This Healthier Veal Piccata uses only 2 tablespoons of butter, one to make a small portion of roux and the other to finish the sauce. The cutlets are not breaded. They are simply seasoned with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Enjoy this dish with some warm, crusty bread and nice dry white wine or the Chianti of your choice.

Healthier Veal Piccata
(Mark Kelly, 2012)

Serves 4

Extra-virgin olive oil
8 thin veal cutlets, pounded flat
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine
1 ½ cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
4 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
4 (1/8-inch) lemon slices
3 Tbsp capers
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided

Preheat the oven to 350F. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet in the oven.

Season veal with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Place 2 cutlets in the hot pan and brown lightly on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the cutlets from the pan and place them on the wire rack in the oven. Repeat with the remaining cutlets, browning 2 cutlets at a time.

In a small saucepan make a light blond roux by melting 1 tablespoon of butter, then whisking in the flour.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Deglazed with the wine and reduce the wine by about half. Add the roux to the skillet and slowly add the chicken broth whisking. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking, until the sauce thickens. Return the veal to the skillet with the rosemary, lemon slices, and capers; gently simmer to finish cooking, about 3 minutes.

Place cutlets on serving plate(s). Add butter to the skillet and reduce the sauce for about 1 minute, over high heat. Spoon the sauce over the veal.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leek and Mushroom Gratin

Ample Bites presents Leek and Mushroom Gratin. Yet another hearty side dish suitable for Thanksgiving dinner.

Leek and Mushroom Gratin
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of Gourmet, October 2012)

Serves 6

¾ stick unsalted butter, divided
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
¼ pound Gruyere, finely grated – about 2 cups
½ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 pounds leeks, root ends trimmed
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over low heat, then cool.

Toss melted butter with breadcrumbs, cheeses, garlic, parsley, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a bowl until combined.

Trim each leek to an 8-inch length. Halve leeks lengthwise, then cut crosswise into roughly 1-inch pieces. Wash leeks and drain well.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 1 to 1 ½-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook roux, whisking, 1 minute. Add stock in a slow stream, whisking, then bring to a boil, whisking. Add nutmeg and zest and boil, whisking, 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter baking dish.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then cover leeks directly with a round piece of parchment paper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and leeks are tender and just beginning to brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides. Add mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed and mushrooms are just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove parchment from leeks and stir in mushrooms. Transfer mixture to baking dish, spreading it evenly. Pour sauce over vegetables and top with crumb mixture. Bake until gratin is babbling and topping is golden, about 15 minutes.

Note: Gratin can be assembled, without breadcrumbs, 8 hours ahead and chilled (covered once cooled). Bring to room temperature, stir, and top with breadcrumbs before baking.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Chicken Thighs Braised with Creole Mustard

Chicken Thighs Braised with Creole Mustard is the epitome of a comfort food. Ample Bites likes this dish because is so simple and it melds the delicious flavors of the meat chicken thighs, the mustard and the spices into luxurious meal.

Chicken Thighs Braised with Creole Mustard
(Adapted from Southern Comfort by Alison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing)

Serves 4

8 chicken thighs
1 ¾ tsp fine sea salt, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 celery stalks, trimmed and sliced on a bias into ¼-inch pieces, plus 1 Tbsp finely chopped celery leaves
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1 rosemary sprig
2 Tbsp Creole or whole grain mustard
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
½ cup half and half
1 Tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350F. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. In a large, deep, oven-safe skillet or pot set over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chicken thighs, skin-side down, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the skin is golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Use metal spatula to turn the thighs over and cook until the surface of the meat pales, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the chicken skin-side up to a plate.

To the skillet, add the celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high and stir in the mustard, then pour in the wine. Cook until the wine is slightly reduced, 3 to 5 minutes, then add the broth and nestle the chicken thighs skin-side up into the skillet.

Cover the pan and braise the chicken in the oven for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook 20 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.

Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, rosemary and thyme sprig, and stir in the chopped celery leaves and parsley leaves. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Print Friendly, PDF & Email